Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen Films

Lord of the Rings

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Aragorn's Eye

"The Lord of the Rings" photographed by Viggo Mortensen

Later, Blue by Viggo Mortensen

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Synopsis: Viggo Mortensen talks about his priorities and how he makes time for his poetry and art while on a busy movie set. "For example, if you have a one-hour lunch break during shooting... you know it is better to have a nap if your body is very tired but in my case, I spent my time writing poems or painting. If I do so, my head can rest better." Illustrated with several of Viggo's photographs.

Credits: By Mirai Konishi
Photos by Viggo Mortensen

Source: Cut #148, April 2003

Note: Translated by Misa.

To check the availability of Cut #148 and to order it, visit the backnumber's page on the publisher's site.

"The Lord of the Rings" is a tremendous block buster all over the world. It is about the battle between good and evil around the ring which hides an enormous power within. The leader of the good is Aragorn who would later become a king. The actor who plays Aragorn is Viggo Mortensen. He started to learn how to act when he was a high-school kid. He won a Drama-logue Critic's Award for his performance in "Bent". However, if he was not involved in "The Lord of the Rings", he wouldn't stand in a spotlight like today. He is an actor with the craftsman-like spirit, regarding himself as a "material" for directors and doesn't have a yearning to become "a Hollywood star". Moreover, he is active as an artist; publishing poetry collections and presenting paintings or photos. His wish is likely not for fame or money (very much like Aragorn).

This issue presents you with the photos he took while shooting "The Lord of the Rings" in New Zealand. Compositions which are bold and feature large faces. Basically he faces the objects straightforwardly, but a kind of mysterious loneliness or sadness is there. Photos which try to be bold but in fact are romantic. Maybe how Viggo Mortensen feels is shown here clearly. And the "feeling" can trace that of Aragorn. I am sure he doesn't like it, but I feel he became an actor to play Aragorn. (Yasushi Ito)


Q: You are quite active, not only as an actor, but also as a photographer or a painter. Which job were you most interested in at beginning?

Viggo: I started writing poems long before I started acting. I started painting rather recently.

Q: Although you are already quite busy, you are expanding your territory, aren't you?

Viggo: Yeah. Because of that, I don't have enough time to sleep. [laughs]

Q: Do you have any priorities?

Viggo: It depends on time and occasion. Sometimes I go at all three of them simultaneously. For me all of them are equally important. When I act, I try to be the best possible "material". This process is not different from those of writing poems, taking photos and painting. There are challenges in front of you. The method to overcome them differs. The difference is you can claim the result as yours, which isn't the case for movie.

Q: I see.

Viggo: For example, if you have a one-hour lunch break during shooting... you know it is better to have a nap if your body is very tired but in my case, I spent my time writing poems or painting. If I do so, my head can rest better. I can completely forget I am on a location until I called for my scene.

Q: You mean you keep your creativity by doing something other than acting?

Viggo: Exactly. I want to be always at creative situation.

Q: On the other hand, have you lost your will to create when you are not filming?

Viggo: No, I haven't. I can deal with some works simultaneously when I am not shooting, although while shooting, I can handle only one. I can paint, write a poem or add poems to my paintings. Also I can take photos.

Q: Did the success of "The Lord of the Rings" change your life?

Viggo: No. I am glad for the success of the movie, but this is just a job for me. Since I am an actor, I just move to the next job. The only difference is that I am receiving a lot of fan mail. I think this is the same for other cast members. [laughs]

Q: I suppose so. [laughs]

Viggo: Therefore, many more people come to my photo exhibitions and book-signings at bookstores. I am pleased with that. [laughs]